Friday, December 31, 2010

My Chocolate Popcorn

I was happy with the results and would do this again This photo is the first batch I did.
I made a milk chocolate diabetic version. I had found some no sugar milk chocolate for candy making at the amish store in Indiana a few years ago, and what I had left needed to get used up. I also had in the cupboards a bottle of less sugar corn syrup. this corn syrup I would not buy again, I had trouble with candy making using this before-and I grabbed this by mistake-thought I had gotton rid of the last this.
I think there is added water in some of the diabetic products, or at least this corn syrup must have. I had a difficult time getting this batch-to have a "crunch" to it instead of a soft gooey texture.
after an extra hour in the oven, and then turning the heat off and letting it sit in there for several more hours-it was finally acceptable. There is someone coming to the party tonight that is also a diabetic, so wanted this to turn out.
On the second batch-I used regular corn syrup, and unsweetened dark chocolates and a little sweeter dark chocolate. I also added salt to the popcorn along with hot pepper flakes. This batch turned out excellent-and I love the hint of "hot" in this.
For both recipes I followed the first recipe I posted on my previous blog.

What are you sll doing to bring in the New Year tonight?? We have been invited to a party, close to home, so bringing lots of goodies to share, along with a pasta sausage dish.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Recipe Share Fridays--Early and a Little "Doings"

Wow we woke up to 55 degrees and high winds. Feels like an early spring day. Too bad it won't stick around, but will enjoy the warm while it is here

I went thru some more boxes of clothes, so have another big stack to cut for quilts and rags, and we found two boxes of flannel shirts-most don't fit Larry any more so saving a box for me, and may offer them to our Wisconsin friends, and another box to share with friends here. I also cut up and washed 5 wool garments for rugs and applique projects.

Next up is to go thru a few boxes of gardening books and decide what I can sell off. May try Ebay or Amazon for these. Haven't had alot of luck with the books I have on Amazon so far, except I was very pleased to sell my new Weaving book set this spring there. After I bought this, I decided it was too complex for me and since it was over $100.00 I decided to sell-and I did sell it right away, and got all my money back. I had purchased it as pre buy before the price went up quite a bit.

This is the first year we have been invited to a New Years Eve party. It is at our friend Mr. L's home. He says he always fixes fresh shrimp, and everyone invited brings food. I haven't totally decided what I am bringing, but I may bring a pasta dish-gluten free-so I know I will have something else I can eat. I also may make some candies today to take along too, and I have a recipe for chocolate popcorn I may make too.


Holiday Recipe Share Fridays

I decided to post early, so everyone that wants to, has time to post.

I haven't made the chocolate popcorn before but sounds good. Doing a google search there are lots and lots of recipes out there.

Found these:

Chocolate Covered Popcorn Recipe

  • 12 cup popped popcorn (air popped works great)

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

  • 1 cup corn syrup

Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Pop the popcorn and place it in the pan.

Combine butter, chocolate chips and corn syrup in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it boils.

Pour mixture over popcorn and stir through to coat. Bake at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes stirring frequently. Cool completely. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

For an added dimension, add a cup or two of your favorite nuts.

No Bake Chocolate Popcorn

  • 6 cups popped popcorn

  • 2 tablespoons margarine

  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon milk

  • Dash of salt

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the popped corn in it.

Melt margarine in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in corn syrup, cocoa, milk and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Pour mixture over popcorn and stir well to coat. Allow popcorn to cool before serving.

Shortcut Chocolate Popcorn Recipe

  • 1 box/bag caramel popcorn

  • 1 bag chocolate chips

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place popcorn in bowl.

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Stir every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. Do not over heat.

Pour chocolate over caramel corn and stir well. Chill until chocolate sets.

Break up and store in an airtight container.

New Years Eve links with recipes:

From Food Network here

From Epicurious here

From Eating Well here

Monday, December 27, 2010

It is a Wintry Monday for Alot of Us

No more snow here, but very very cold-around 7 degrees. But the sun is shining bright, and we are to reach mid 30s today, and warm up to 60s on thursday and friday-wild. But then saturday back down to the 30s, with possible storms due to the temperature changes

I feel for you all on the east coast, especially New York and New Jersey I think you are getting hit the hardest with lots of snow and blizzard conditions. It is soooo bad there that the Giants are stuck in Green Bay after the game last night, til they open up the airports. An awesome game for the Packers. Go Pak!!

Last few days I have been going thru old t shirts-so old that most of them were made in the usa. I am cutting out 12.5 and 6.5 inch squares to make a t shirt quilt out of my favorites-alot of these go back to the 70s. I finally had to retire 3 of my most favorite t shirts and sweatshirts-but someday soon they will be in my quilt-lol Today I am going thru another big pile of clothes to see what I can discard. A few can be taken to the resale shop, some cut out for quilts, and some for rags.

I still have no cupboards here or closets, so I am basicly getting tired of looking at boxes of clothes piled high. So I am cleaning up this week since I am stuck in the house do to winter, and it is too cold in the house to work on my rock shower. I was really dissappointed I didn't get my shower finished by November, but I did get lots of food canned, and I helped Larry finish up with the food plot instead too.

Resolutions?? I have decided setting goals for the New Year will be more attainable.

What are you all doing this Monday morning??

photo from here

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Art Sunday Georg Ehret

I thought I would feature an artist today. I typed in artists of the 1700's, and one of the first names that popped up was Georg Ehret. Gorgeous works.

After studying horticulture in his native Germany, Georg Dionys Ehret (1708-1770) moved to Holland where he pursued botanical illustration. In a suitable testament to his distinguished talents, the great Carl Linneaus was among the first supporters of Ehret, with whom he collaborated on a book recording the contents of the renowned Georg Clifford estate ('Hortus Cliffortianus', 1838).

Ehret spent the second half of his life in England and was to become one of the most respected and influential botanical artists of the 18th century. He had already become known to the physician and passionate botanist, Chrisoph Trew, who acted as patron and publisher to Ehret for decades. Their collaboration produced one of the finest botanical works of the century in 'Plantae Selectae', which was published over about 20 years until 1769.

information from here
more about him here
Georg Dionysius Ehret

Many more photos here

Friday, December 24, 2010

Just Thoughts (not political)

These holidays can be soooo depressing for alot of folks. I know my Larry goes into deep depression from about late October thru January-do to the war he fought in, and the winter blues too.

Christmas can be very difficult too, especially for us older adults. I never had children ( absolute no patience for it) so I don't go thru the "empty nest" at the holidays, but the whole thing of these holidays can have so many negative and uncomfortable expectations thru it all-if we fall into that and let it happen. I make an effort not to shop and listen to all that christmas music over and over, and I also stay away from all the crowds and all cities to keep away from all the commercialization of the season.

I have always enjoyed baking everything-and then giving it away. Used to be to family, now mostly to new neighbors here. I keep the holidays low key for Larry's sake, and I have never been one-for all the presents, and parties and all that. I do enjoy the quiet with the two of us-now that I am retired-I actually have the holidays off-as I used to always work them for the bonus money involved. I don't like alot of presents, don't like giving alot of presents either-but I do enjoy opening at least a few-lol--it is definately the "kid" in me.

For me-I watch all the Christmas movies I can handle from Thanksgiving til now-lol--there are alot of good ones out there, including some of the older ones too. and since I enjoy cooking and baking-I make us "good eats" for Christmas Eve and Day.

We are going thru a very difficult time money wise-do to the economy, the last of our Illinois property is such a "headache" and a money spender-that it really gets us down-so that has got to change-I want it on the market come spring-and we get what we get. It is burying us financially right now. I know this poor economy has hurt so many of us-and that is a depressant in itself.

So, in the end I really work hard to stay up beat, make good eats, and enjoy the peace and beauty here in the woods. When I am down and blue-I thank God for leading us to this beautiful place in the woods.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all.

Slideshow-Winter Surprise in the Ozarks

They have been predicting ice and maybe a little snow. I don't think in recent years, it is the norm to have a white chrismas here where I live-so when we woke up this morning-I am sure the kids, and us kids at heart-got a beautiful surprise-especially here in my woods.
After taking Nikita for our walk this morning, it was soooo beautiful, that I grabbed the camera and went back out. All these photos are taken around our home here in the woods. Enjoy

Holiday Recipe Share Fridays-Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas.
Since Thanksgiving we have been sharing our favorite holiday recipes. Please join us if you would like to share with us, leave a link to your recipe or blog in comments.
I remember as a child, on Christmas Eve, we almost always went to a candle ceremony that ended at midnight. Alot of times when we left the church it would be snowing.
When we got home, we usually had hot cocoa, cookies and such, and cheese ball and crackers with little meats sometimes. Dad's favorite meat was ham so we always had ham during Christmas eve or day. Dad also would try to convince Mom that we could all open just one present-he rarely won cause Mom was stickler for opening presents only on Christmas day.
I found this Christmas Eve link full of recipes here (for eve and day)
I also found these Christmas Eve and Day menus w/ recipes here
Mom always made lots of fruit breads including cranberry bread
this recipe looks close
[Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread]
recipe here
Mom and Grandma always had lots of molded fruit and veggie salads too.
Remember those sunshine salads?-(I am dating myself here lol)one of my favorites.

Mamabear Cool Whip Fruit Salad

Sunday, December 19, 2010

White Chocolate Lollypops

I made these today, and they were fun to make, and turned out really nice too. The recipe is on my friday post for holiday recipe share. I used pine nuts, dried cranberries, and a few little christmas sprinkles.
I also made a batch of peanut brittle that turned out excellent, recipe on same post. This always turns out perfect-if you don't cook too far and burn-lol. I can finish up now with one of my neighbor's goodie bag which also includes handmade soap and a big jar of the lemon sugar hand scrub from Endlessi's recipe, a few cookies and some of the treats from today.
I have two boxes to put together to mail off tomorrow, one more little goodie bag, and then I am finished. Will be concentrating on the months bills-no fun--and since it has warmed up, want to go out hunting too-it's black powder season now. Nice to havae a bit of a warm up for a few days-not much sun, but we did get a little today so I could finally make some candy.
Are all of you that celebrate ready for the holidays??

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Recipe Share Fridays

If you like to join us and share a holiday recipe, please leave a link in comments.
We finally get some sunshine today, hope so, cause I want make up a few candies today. One of my favorites is my peanut brittle.
I love making peanut brittle, it always brings back fond memories of making it with my grandma on the farm (my Moms mom)
I have Grandma's recipe, but I also found another one in a 1951 cookbook, that I love better. I especially like the process of adding in the baking soda.
Here is the recipe from a candy book by Antoinette and Francois Pope in 1951:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups raw peanuts
1 teaspoon baking soda combined with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons cold water
In a heavy 2 quart saucepan cook the sugar, syrup, and water to 275 degrees F Remove the the thermometer and lower the flame to medium and add the butter, stir until dissolved and then add peanuts all at once and stir constantly for 5 minutes over the medium flame.
Place thermometer in the candy again and cook until the brittle is delicately brown or to 300 degrees. Remove from the fire and add the baking soda that has been combined with the vanilla and water. stir the brittle for about 1/2 minute until the brittle rises. Pour onto well greased marble slab (or large cookie sheet). spread with oiled spatula. when slightly cool, lift the two ends and turn over. With two forks or fingers (hot) spread as thin as possible. when cold break into pieces.
Makes about 2 pounds of brittle.
May also be formed in well oiled round molds. store in tightly covered jar or tin to prevent sticking.
I also separate layers with wax paper. Note: after the 5 minutes of cooking the peanuts, the next step is critical not to burn the batch. Sometimes better to go by color and not wait til it gets to the 300. I have been right on the edge of burnt in more than one occasion. also after flipping the brittle, work fast to stretch out as thin as you want. will cool down real fast. this is the first time I got to use my marble and it cools down real fast on the marble. Have fun!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good morning Monday-Tea and Crumpets

tea and crumpets

Still bitter cold here this morning How does the weather find you this monday morning??

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Straining Off the Fruit Brandys

Good morning Thursday,
Yesterday I gathered up some of the saved bottles I have (wine, booze etc with caps) and washed them and bleached them. So this morning I started to strain off one of the apple brandys-this one has a beautiful blush color.
I need to ask around to see if I can gather up some more bottles, as I definately do not have enough this time, I made Lots of different fruit brandys this past year.
Larry is off fishing for bass. Today and tomorrow we will be back in the 50's before the temps drop drastically cold over the weekend.
I need to refill the wood rack, and bring lots of wood in the house too, before then.
What are you all doing today???

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Awesome Giveaway from Mountain Rose

Click here for a chance to win an awesome holiday giveaway from Mountain Rose Herbs.

How to make evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk

Seems whenever I buy some of these little cans to have on hand, I end up not using them up before the expiration dates.
So I knew this could be made-cause way back when, the person in the kitchen would've needed to know how.
I found a couple different methods for making the evaporated milk. From Ehow and here is a quicker easier method from about their frugal living.
For the sweetened condensed milk, I found this link with lots of different recipes for making this, including an unsweetened non fat version too. click here for the recipes

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Few Christmas Memes

You Are Rudolph
Sweet and shy, you tend to be happiest when you're making someone else happy.

Why You're Naughty: You sometimes stick that nose where it doesn't belong

Why You're Nice: Christmas would be a sad affair without you!
You Are a Sugar Cookie
You are an expressive, creative, interesting person.
You are likely very crafty and even a bit artistic.

You're artistic in many ways - be it writing, acting, music, drawing, or painting.
You see yourself as original and unique. And you love showing people how special you are.
You Are A Reindeer
You are a solid, dependable person. You are more likely to act than talk.
You have a lot of endurance and grit. You can work well into the night if you need to.

You are cooperative and competent. You like being part of a team, especially if everyone is pulling their weight.
You are energetic and hyper. You don't like to stay still for to long, and you're always ready to go somewhere new!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Saturday

Another saturday has arrived. We have been blessed with warmer than normal temperatures this week-mostly in the 50's; but as the day progresses we will definately remember this is December after all-lol

I already baked up another batch of ginger cookies this morning, these are sooo good. This time I sprinkled some with little sugar snowflakes, and put most of the cookies in the freezer so we wouldn't eat them all up.

I am going thru my clothes and looking for my Illinois winter clothes for today We are going to a funeral of a friend that lost his battle with cancer, and afterwards going back to the house (in the woods) with a big bon fire, and food. I made two apple pies to take and thinking of also bringing along some cheese bread. They have a little "club house", isn't much but they will be lighting the woodstove in there too, so some of us can get out of the wind and cold. It will be a blustery cold day today-no snow though. Definately an ozark country funeral.

Song for my friend

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Recipe Share Friday

Hello everyone. Today I want to share a couple of my Mom's favorite recipes; they were always included in her christmas cookie boxes.
If you would like to participate: please post a blog with your recipe, and then post a link in comments.

photo from here
Chunky Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup white vanilla chips
1 seven ounce jar macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add the sugars beating well. Add egg and vanilla mixing well.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients and gradually add to the butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in the morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool makes about 5 dozen cookies

Chocolate Chippers
1 cup butter softened
1 8 ounce package cream cheese softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate mini morsels
1 cup milk chocolate morsels or rainbow semi sweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add the sugars, beating well. Add the eggs and vanilla mixing well.
Combine flour and next 4 ingredients, gradually add to the butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in morsels and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degree for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes 8 dozen

Meringue Nut Cookies
Preheat oven to 200 degrees f
Lightly butter and flour wax paper, put on the cookie sheets.
Beat 3 large egg whites until foamy Add 1/8 tespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Beat until stiff.
Gradually stir in 3/4 to 1 cup sugar.
Fold in 2 cups coarsley ground nuts.
Drop on lined cookie sheet. Bake 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours til slightly brown
Let cool, peel off wax pater.
Makes 3 dozen

Thursday, December 2, 2010

anyone else having trouble following??

For about a month now I can't get the follow feature to work for me, on blogs I want to follow. anyone else having this problem??

Holiday giveaway over at Mountain rose

I just learned of a wonderful giveaway over at Mountain rose herbs-check it out here

Baking up a Ginger Cookie-with recipe

When I was in the middle of mixing up this recipe yesterday, I couldn't find the ginger. It ended up taking me over an hour to go thru all my spices to find some. I had forgotten that I ended up throwing away a big bag of ginger this past summer. It had to be at least 20 years old. I keep most all of my spices in the freezers, they do stay nicer for me that way, but that bag of ginger finally had lost it's "punch". lol
I ended up finding a little container of it in my canning spices, I had bought some new ginger from the amish store-yeh! Can't have ginger cookies without the ginger.
In my folders of recipes I found this recipe that I had found at allrecipes online, and noted I baked up a batch in '06 and that they were good. Since I am making up small batches of cookies this year-I decided to use this one again, and converted to gluten free.
These are delicous-very moist
Favorite Molasses Cookies found on
3/4 cup butter softened----I used 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar---I used sun crystals
1/4 cup molasses--I used organic unsulphured molasses
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour-I used gluten free baking mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
and per my tip from Sea Nymph in the past-I added a generous amount of slivered candied ginger
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in molasses and egg. Combine dry ingredients, gradually add to creamed mixture. Chill for at least one hour,
Shape into 1 inch balls, place on greased baking sheets. Press flat with a glass dipped in sugar (I combined organic sugar, that I have a vanilla bean in, with green sugar)
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned, cool on racks
Makes around 36 cookies


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